Strategic Internal Communication
Book

Strategic Internal Communication

How to Build Employee Engagement and Performance

Kogan Page, 2014 more...

Editorial Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

David Cowan, a 25-year veteran of the communications profession, describes a new model of communication within organizations based on collaboration, information sharing, values, employee engagement and “emotional management.” He discusses the power of feelings over facts, the myth of “corporate culture,” the damage done by unclear values, the significance of difficult conversations and the need for empathy. He explains the relationships among “intelligence, emotion, interpretation” and “narrative” in internal communications. His ideas are challenging and innovative, though hard-bitten internal marketers who are veterans of the corporate battlefield might question his idealistic goals of achieving a transparent communications environment and a company with no culture except empathy. Nonetheless, getAbstract recommends his fresh thinking to corporate communications professionals and the executives who establish corporate values.

Summary

21st-Century Communication

Complete openness should be the leading trait of 21st-century corporate communications. To reach today’s employees, emotion should dominate the “intelligence” or information that a message delivers. In the 20th century, management held its information cards close to the chest and dealt them to employees only when they celebrated a success. Communication professionals broadcast mostly good news and stories that glorified top managers.

Today’s communications have to address new social concerns, including privacy, and must meet the needs of employees who are increasingly transient, diverse and hungry for new experiences, both in business and socially. Those who design modern corporate communications must employ all three legs of the triad of “internal communications, employee engagement and HR.” Engaging employees amid today’s information onslaught requires helping them balance their contributions to the company with their lives outside of work. That requires empathy.

At its best, internal communication practitioners should try to create a “knowledge organization” characterized by transparency and sharing. But, most often, efforts to share...

About the Author

David Cowan, former global head of internal communications at ArcelorMittal, is a consultant to the technology and energy industries.


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